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Introduction Robotics has had a dramatic impact on manufacturing over the past decade. It has been the enabling technology in the widespread,availability of consumer elec- tronics, such as personal computers, video cassette recorders, and facsimile machines, and the agent of change in the transformation of the automobile industry. In both the United States and Japan, it has increased efficiency, enabled higher quality, and led to improved working conditions on the shop floor. Looking back on the relatively short history of the world robotics industry, the 1960s appear to have been a decade of invention; the 1970s a decade of develop- ment; and the 1980s a decade of growth, stability, and maturity. U.S. firms most heavily influenced invention, Japanese firms development and growth (see Figure 1~. Selective cooperation may well play a key role in strengthening robotics R&D and fostering a global marketplace in what promises to be a decade of new oppor- tunity. Wider and more direct impacts on people, in areas beyond the manufacturing environment, are expected from robotics in the l990s. Cooperative efforts between the United States and Japan that might hasten advances in the application of robotics in safety, health, and personal services hold great promise not only for the participants but also, in our increasingly global economy, for the citizens of the world. But many differences-economic and cultural-complicate the cooperation effort. Universities, government, and industry play different roles in R&D in Japan and the United States, and each country approaches planning and govern- ment/private sector cooperation differently. Moreover, the two countries' respec- tive cultures tend to communicate in different ways. Recent studies suggest that 3
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4 U.S. firms involved in international relationships, particularly win Japanese com- panies, often believe Mat they receive less Wan they give. It is Bus important that cooperative undertakings between U.S. and Japanese firms be managed in such a way that mutual benefits are clear to both sides. Collaborative relationships should be characterized by a theme of "cooperating to learn," especially from Japan. - ~11986 119871988 Australia528NA 800 9251200 , Austria1 1 6170 250 305446 Belgiu m776975 1, 035 1, 1321,231 Chi pa-Taiwan148227 292 452682 Denmark114164 210 277349 Finland180247 336 423 Federal Republic6,6008,800 12,400 14,90017,700 of Germany France2,7504,150 5,270 6,5777,930 Hungary 89 Italy2,0004,000 5,000 6,6008,300 JAPAN67,00093,000 1 16,000 143,000176,000 Netherlands213350 630 747845 Norway260323 396 431473 Poland NA 380 410471 Singapore2029 158 360420 Spain525 859 1,1311,382 Sweden 1,746 ~2,046 2,383 2,750 3,042 Switzerland 191 290 382 ~ 475 783 United Kingdom 2,029 3,208 3,683 4,303 5,034 UNITED STATES 13,000 20,000 25,000 29,000 33,000 OF AMERICA USSR 34,068 44 071 53 1 15 59 218 . . . , UNIDO Group 1,702 2,766 4,052 5,647 (only Czechoslovakia) . . _. _ . . FIGURE 1 Robot population of He wed d. Note: Numbers exclude manual manipulators and fixed- 5CqUCrlCC lo. NA, Not Abscam SOURCE: ~temau~ F~emu~ of Ro~cs.